By Laman Ismayilova
Every year, March 5 is celebrated as the Day of Physical Culture and Sports in Azerbaijan.
On March 5, 1995, National Leader Heydar Aliyev met with the champions and prize winners of the world and European championships at the Baku Sports Palace and established the Sports Foundation.
On this day, Heydar Aliyev also launched a new strategy on the development of physical culture and sports.
A series of sporting events devoted to the date are now being held across the country.
As a result of the consistent efforts of President Ilham Aliyev, who has headed the National Olympic Committee since 1997, Azerbaijan has become a leading sports country in the world.
The country's attention to sports and physical education is growing every year.
National athletes successfully performed at the Olympic Games in Beijing in August 2008 and won 7 medals, and Azerbaijan ranked 38th among more than 200 countries.
The year 2012 was declared in Azerbaijan as the "Year of Sport" by the order of President Ilham Aliyev.
National team achieved a good result at the 30th Summer Olympic Games in London. Represented by 53 athletes in 16 sports at the London Olympics, Azerbaijan broke the previous record by winning 2 gold, 2 silver and 6 bronze medals. At the 31st Summer Olympic Games, the Azerbaijani team ranked 14th with 18 medals.
Multiple sports centers, including Olympic Sports Complex, Baku Olympic Stadium, the National Gymnastics Arena, Baku Water Sports Palace are successfully operating in the country.
Azerbaijan was chosen as a venue for major international sporting events like European Games 2015, 2016 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, Baku Chess Olympiad, Islamic Solidarity Games 2017, Women's Junior European Volleyball Championship 2012, Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix and others.
National athletes, who successfully represent Azerbaijan at international level, also bravely fought for the country's integrity in the Second Karabakh War. Many sportsmen took part in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War.
The excellent sports infrastructure that meets the highest standards create a strong basis for major sporting success in the near future.
This year, Azerbaijan will host Euro group-stage games. Baku will go down in history as one of the 12 European cities hosting this prestigious sporting event.
The promotion of a healthy and active lifestyle of the youth is a key priority of the Azerbaijani government. For this purpose, a development strategy of the Azerbaijani youth covering the years 2013-2023, the national strategy on the development of physical culture and sport in 2012-2020, as well as a relevant state program for 2013-2016 are implemented in the country.
Sports federations, sport clubs and sport schools in Azerbaijan are provided with specialized sports training and athletics facilities.
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